Google Removes 192 Extensions from the Web Store

Google Removes 192 Extensions from the Web Store

In order to improve the browsing experience with Chrome and ensure the safety of its users, Google banned 192 bad extensions from its Web Store.

The company decided to take this step after researchers at the University of California, Berkeley conducted a study on ad injectors and created a method to spot the bad extensions that may be involved in malicious activities. The study is expected to be released on May 1.

Ad Injections Reported by Thousands of Chrome Users

The researchers say that all browser users have been complaining from ad injection utilities, regardless of the OS they use. The users may be exposed to the risk of a man-in-the-middle attack or get tricked into installing harmful software on their computers.

Both advertisers and publishers are at a loss in this process. Advertisers are not capable of keeping track where their banners appear, and publishers do not profit from showing them because the advertising materials are being forced on their web pages.

Since January this year Google has received more than 100 000 complaints regarding ad injectors. Subsequently, the company decided to release the researchers’ report, thus raising awareness of potentially unsafe browser extensions. Developers can add their products to the store by following the Chrome policies, which aim to protect the users against malicious activities.

The Findings

Only bits and pieces of the report have been revealed to the public so far, but the researcher’s findings will probably provoke other developers to look at ad injection techniques differently.

According to the report:

  • Over 5% of the PC users visiting Google websites have one or more ad injector in their browser. This number is considered high since the search engine is used by more than 39 million unique IP addresses.
  • 34% of the browser extension from Chrome that are capable of injecting advertising materials have been categorized as malware.

Google software engineer Nav Jagpal writes in a blog post that the company is constantly working on the improvement of the product policies in order to protect the users online. “We’re committed to continuing to improve this experience for Google and the web as a whole,” concludes Jagpal.